Top Line Revenue Planning

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How does your mid-year revenue report card look? Have you met, exceeded or failed to meet your goals so far? Is your organization aligned with the current year's goals? These are important questions to ask as the second half of the year marches on.

Evaluating your product and service mix is also a key ingredient to increasing top line revenue. Are some of your products and services selling better than others? Tap the manufacturers of the better selling products if they would coop some marketing campaigns with you. By selecting a target audience that a few manufacturers would benefit from, they could subsidize some of your campaigns that would help you gain more traction with many of your opportunities. This will also help for complimentary services to those products for medium to larger deal sizes. Sometimes a foot in the door with one product could lead to greater and more profitable opportunities because of other complementary products and services.

Lead generation efforts need to take on a different focus if the mid-year report card is only average or worse. The idea that continuous lead generation efforts of great messaging will help brand the company and raise consciousness to your differentiators and value add statements will ultimately work is always enticing. Is your company consistent with those messages? Are the leads "A" quality? Are your salespeople following-up and qualifying those leads appropriately? Salespeople are notoriously bad in two areas of the business development process; one is cold calling (i.e. prospecting) and the other is proactive follow-up. The average cost of a lead (non-referral) ranges between $550 and $900. If you look at your investments with trade shows, direct mail, seminars, advertising, association dues, subscription dues and other marketing mediums and divide that investment with total leads received, you will come up with your cost per lead.

Since top line revenue is usually top of mind as a success and growth indicator for a business throughout the year, your business development plan typically needs tweaking and fine-tuning. Many companies drop the ball on key opportunities when management fails to get engaged early in the process or towards the end of the process when the relationships either need to be established or strengthened for value creation. If other opportunities are flowing over from one month to another month, perhaps you need to determine if your energies are worth spending more time on them. There is only so much selling time in a day, week, and month. Your best salespeople know this and probably are the best at time management with the opportunities that will close. Pay attention to those salespeople that manage their opportunities well and feed them the leads to keep their pipelines full of fresh prospects. Top line revenue could be positively impacted with better forecasting methods and management of the sales team.

If you have a standardized approach to forecasting, managing the sales team and the "right" opportunities will yield greater results. Remember it's not just the amount of leads or opportunities that will increase top line revenue. At the end of the day, it's about the right leads (i.e. "A" leads) and the right opportunities that will determine the success of the business development efforts and the organizational aligned goals.

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